Residents Demand Alderman Cardenas Stop Charters

By: Ashmar Mandou

 Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsDuring a back-to-school immunization drive hosted by Alderman George Cardenas, a small group of protestors circled around the alderman to push for answers in regards to schools in the community facing massive budget cuts.

“You can’t claim to help children when you starve their schools,” said Rolando Vazquez, an elementary school teacher at Brighton Park Elementary, one of the many neighborhood schools facing cuts of over $7 million. “Alderman Cardenas promised us that he would support the TIF Surplus Ordinance that will help avert many of these devastating cuts, but when it came time to sign on he was nowhere to be found.”

According to Vazquez, only 32 aldermen in the city stood up for their communities and schools, with that said, Vazquez urged Cardenas to reconsider his stance on the TIF ordinance. At the protest, Cardenas promised to meet with the concerned protestors to discuss the TIF ordinance in further detail.

“It’s a real outrage that while Kelly High School students won’t have a librarian or an orchestra teacher next year, we are putting money into a corrupt charter network like Horizon,” said Bill Drew of the McKinley Park Community. According to Drew, Horizon has been aggressively pursuing students from other neighborhood schools like Evergreen and Nathaniel Greene, worsening an already severe budget situation at those schools. “While the Alderman has failed to publicly support the ordinance to redistribute the TIF surplus, he has granted a zoning change to a corrupt charter operator knows as Horizons, despite community opposition,” said Drew.

Community activists, teachers, and residents held an informational protest outside Horizon Charter School then marched to McKinley Park Field House. The group also demanded that Ald. Cardenas support a moratorium on new charters before school begins.

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